I pushed hard down on the gas pedal and raced up the highway. I’ve made the drive to Washington D.C. hundreds of times over the years and I smiled thinking of the great time I was making, I would be there in no-time. I left late at night, but I still figured I’d run into traffic at one spot or another, but not today.
I was racing to Dulles International Airport to pick up my daughter. For the past six months, she’s been serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in South America. The experience has been challenging, but one that she had been enjoying.
With the Coronavirus taking over the world, though, the Peace Corps made the tough call earlier this month to suspend activities and evacuate all 7,300 volunteers from more than 60 countries across the globe. In making the announcement the Peace Corps left open the idea of returning, but many questions remain.
As I drove, I battled a myriad of emotions. On one hand, I was happy. I would be seeing my daughter. If I didn’t care about quarantining, I could even give her a hug, something I’ve missed. Just a few months earlier, my wife and I had started to make plans for a summer time trip to see her. We didn’t get too far in our plans, other than highlighting areas that we wanted to visit and researching plane tickets, but it was still progress. We were planning the trip, because otherwise we wouldn’t get a chance to see her, outside of our occasional video call, for another two years, when her tour ends.
And yes, once I started to read about the Coronavirus taking hold, I liked the idea of my daughter being home with us, instead of thousands of miles away. When danger comes, when crazy things happen, every father wants his family close.
On the other hand, though, I reminded myself that my daughter had clear reasons for joining the Peace Corps. She was excited to learn a new language and a different culture. She prepared herself to tackle everything that the Peace Corps demanded. She had signed up for a huge life-changing challenge and, so far, she had been up to the task. She had survived the toughest part of the job, setting up in a new land, getting engrained into a new culture, making new friends and her work in setting up youth programs was really starting to make a difference.
And with a snap of the fingers or should I say a loud, unexpected CONVID-19 pandemic, raging across regions and countries, her dream was temporarily put on hold.
So yes, I’ve made the drive to Washington DC hundreds of times before, but never before with such a myriad of bittersweet emotions, the highest highs and the lowest lows. The drive was one for the record books, but my hopes remain pretty simple.
My most important hope is that we get control of the virus and scientists soon discover a vaccine that can help kill off the virus. I hope it for myself, but even more for my daughter and everyone else across the globe. In fact, I’ll go one step further. My hope is that one day soon, I’ll make another trip to Dulles Airport. This time, I hope to drop my daughter off at the airport to finish what she started.
Yes, that’s my hope. I hope for another day, another tomorrow.
Brian, that was beautiful and great writing.